A 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens is often a pro photographer's most-used lens aside from a general purpose zoom.
Engagements, weddings, parties, events, theater, stage performances, high school senior, fashion, documentary, lifestyle, zoo, sports, product and landscape photography are all great uses for this focal length range.
Those wanting to add a 70-200mm lens to their Sony kits will likely be considering the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS lenses.
With that in mind, we're going to take a closer look at these lenses to see which might be the best investment option.
Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS and FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Primary Shared Features
Primary Advantages of the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens
- Sony E-mount, full-frame compatible
- 70-200mm focal length range
- A constant max aperture
- Does not extend with zoom/focus changes
- Built-in Optical SteadyShot with 2 modes
- Included tripod mount ring and lens hood
- Focus hold buttons
- Focus range limiter
Primary Advantages of the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens
- Wider Aperture: f/2.8 vs. f/4
- Better weather sealing
- More Aperture Blades: 11 vs. 9
- Higher Max Magnification: 0.25x vs. 0.13
Other Spec Differences: Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS vs. FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS
- Smaller Size: 3.1 x 6.9" (80.0 x 175.0mm) vs. 3.5 x 7.9" (88 x 200mm)
- Lighter Weight: 29.7 oz (840g) vs. 52.2 oz (1480g)
- Lower cost
Image Quality Differences: Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS vs. FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS
- Front Filter Size: 77mm vs. 72
- Elements/Groups: 23/18 vs. 21/15
- Filter adjustment window in hood vs. N/A
The FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS is sharper than the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS in most direct aperture comparisons and shows less lateral CA overall.
As can be expected from a wider aperture lens, the f/2.8 lens has less peripheral shading at f/4 than the f/4 lens has wide open.
That difference is mostly erased at f/5.6 and the f/4 lens has even slightly less vignetting in some f/8 comparisons.
The f/4 lens has slightly less distortion.
Who should opt for the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS Lens?
Wedding and event photographers, who need to freeze action in low-light situations, will greatly benefit from the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS's twice-as-wide aperture which allows them to freeze motion in half as much light compared to the FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS.
Portrait photographers will also appreciate the increased background blur the f/2.8 lens is capable of, enabling even better/more desirable separation between the subject and background.
The mount gasket seal of the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS indicates that it is a better weather sealed lens compared to the f/4 lens.
That Sony proudly offers a gasketing illustration for the f/2.8 lens (shown below) but not the f/4 model bolsters this assertion.
Those planning on using their 70-200mm lenses in inclement weather, such as sports photographers, will likely want to spring for the f/2.8 model.
Who should opt for the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS Lens?
Those who do not need an f/2.8 max aperture can enjoy many of the benefits found in the Sony FE 70-200mm f/2.8 GM OSS – including a highly useful focal length range, a constant max aperture, OSS and included accessories – in a lens that's smaller, lighter and
Photographers who intend on using their 70-200mm lenses in good light and in pleasant weather, those who prioritize smaller/lighter gear because of transportation limitations (hikers, backpackers, etc.) and/or those who are budget limited will likely find the Sony FE 70-200mm f/4 G OSS to be the perfect lens for their needs.